24 Jul 2015

Melbourne Cup on tiki tour around NZ

11:11 am on 24 July 2015

It's the race that stops two nations - the Melbourne Cup.

And this week, the Cup that will be presented to this year's winner on the first Tuesday in November is in New Zealand.

The $175,000, 18-carat gold Cup was in the Wellington studio of Radio New Zealand this morning and will be in Taupo on Sunday.

The jockey who rode 1987 Melbourne Cup winner Kensei is also travelling with the Cup.

Larry Olsen told Morning Report the Tour gave him a chance to reflect on his big win almost 28 years ago.

"It's really when you're pulling up after the race, when you're setting the horse down, that it all dawns on you that you've won the greatest race that God ever made.

"It even gets better when you win the race, to hold it... and the champagne tastes better out of it," he said.

In the 155 year history of the race the Cup has been won 41 times by horses bred in New Zealand, including Kensei, which Olsen rode in 1987.

Each year, a new Cup is created, as the winning owner gets awarded not just the prize money from the richest horse race in the Southern Hemisphere but the Cup itself.

"This big trophy goes to the owner... but ours is a miniature replica of that and it holds pride of place at home," he said.

The Cup is touring 33 towns and cities across New Zealand, Australia and, for the first time, Malaysia, where it will be part of a special World War II memorial service.

Joe McGrath from the Victoria Racing Club told Morning Report the public will also have the chance to get up close and personal with the Cup.

"Ninety nine percent of people are never going to win one, so giving them that feeling of actually holding the Cup and getting up to the Holy Grail is certainly an experience that the VRC at Flemington very wilfully likes to share," he said.

It will return to Melbourne on 26 October before the running of the 155th Emirates Melbourne Cup on 3 November 2015.

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